Disabled students struggle to access education
Many policies for the disabled remain impractical and have yet to help students with disabilities access tertiary education.
The information was revealed at a seminar on education access for disabled students held by the Disability Research and Capacity Development (DRD) centre on October 23 in Ho Chi Minh City.Vietnam had about 6.1 million people with disabilities or 7.8 percent of the population. The number of the people able to read and write between 16 and 24 years old accounted for nearly 70 percent of the group, but only 0.1 percent of Vietnamese with disabilities attended colleges or universities.
Disabled students have to pay for such appropriate support equipment as mobility or hearing aid and specialised learning materials, aside from tuition fees. They also find it hard to get a part-time job to get work experience.
Duong Phuong Hanh, Director of the Centre for Research and Education of the Deaf, said there are numerous specialised primary schools for the community, but not many from secondary to higher education. Learning becomes even harder for the disabled due to the lack of suitable materials and support.
According to Hoang Truong Giang, deputy head of the primary education office under the HCM City Department of Education and Training, another issue, in addition to inadequate school facilities catering to the needs of the disabled, is limited capacity of personnel in ranking degrees of disabilities to issue an official certificate that will help students and their teachers access Government support policies.
The number of managers, teachers and trainers trained in special education still falls short of demand, he added.
Participants proposed reducing or removing of tuition fees for all students with disabilities.
Educational establishments need to invest in support for different disabilities, they suggested.-